As a human resources rep, one of the toughest parts of your job is likely going to be those days when you have to lay employees off due to no fault of their own. While you will never enjoy this aspect of your work, you can take steps to feel better by knowing you have helped your laid-off staff members feel respected, and better prepared to move onto a new role.
Keep in mind that assisting people through redundancies effectively is also essential when it comes to keeping relationships intact – after all, you never know when you might be able to work with that person again in the future. You also don’t want them bad-mouthing the company all over the place, either.
If you’re looking for some ideas on ways to better manage employee lay-offs, read on for tips you can follow.
One of the most important factors in laying off staff members is that you communicate effectively with them. Try to be sensitive and upfront when you deliver the news of their termination, and be as open as possible about the real reasons why the layoffs are occurring. Help people to understand that they’re being let go not because of how you see them as a worker or as a person, but because of whatever the real factors are behind the company’s decision to downsize.
When you’re honest like this, it helps employees to feel respected and doesn’t dent their confidence or self-esteem quite so much. Instead of thinking about what they should have or could have done differently in their job, they can move on, more quickly, to process what has just happened. Being clear about the facts also helps them start to think about their future, and obtaining a new job, sooner.
When it comes to communication, it’s also helpful if give yourself plenty of time in meetings. You want to provide people with as much clarity as possible about the process and paperwork involved and give them a chance to ask as many questions as they need to in order to understand what options and support are available to them. As such, the timeframe involved will differ from person to person and needs to be flexible.
It is also kinder if you give people some quiet time in your office to digest the news, rather than rushing them back out to be amongst their peers when they’re feeling shocked and vulnerable. They don’t want to feel like they’re just one in a long line of people you’re dealing with that day, or that they have to go and pack their belongings up right that second.
Be a Listening Post
Losing a job is one of the most stressful things people go through in life, particularly when they find out the decision out of the blue. Another one of your roles, then, to help employees move on when they’re being laid off, is to act as a listening post for them.
As people take in the news, they usually need to have a chance to express their emotions, whether they’re showing signs of disbelief, anger, fear, frustration, or something else. Listening to them at this difficult time will make people feel more validated and respected as a human, and will ensure the relationship is more likely to survive.
Keep in mind that all sorts of different reactions can be expected, and none of these are likely to be personal. People just need a chance to communicate their concerns or complaints and to feel like they are being heard. If you provide them with this opportunity, they will usually leave much more peacefully and be less likely to disparage the company name to others.
Arrange for Outplacement Services to be Made Available
Another great way to help employees transition is to arrange for executive outplacement services to be made available to them. Outplacement companies are utilized to help people search for and land new roles after being laid off, and they ensure workers aren’t just left by themselves with no support at all when their jobs are terminated.
When you bring in an outplacement provider, a team of trained professionals can be charged with numerous tasks, based on your preferences and allocated budget. This usually involves things like helping laid-off workers to search for the most suitable new jobs to apply for; assisting them to create or update their resume and cover letter; and giving them the chance to practice answering interview questions and otherwise preparing for these kinds of meetings.